Posts Tagged ‘dvd’


Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Check out our DVD section for two new “discoveries”: A Count Basie concert from 1965 with Rufus Jones on drums; and a compilation DVD featuring a vocalist that many maintain was the finest in history, Jo Stafford. These were television shots from around 1961 and feature Stafford with guests Rosemary Clooney, Mel Torme’ and Ella Fitzgerald. These were issued on VHS at the dawn of the video age and have never been released–until now–on DVD. More good stuff to come!


Thursday, April 12th, 2012

How many times have you wanted to email the owner or founder of a company directly? Maybe you love them. Maybe you don’t care for them. Maybe you want help in finding a CD or DVD. Maybe you just want to talk. Now you can, and I’m inviting you. My personal email is I founded and I own, and I invite you to write about anything at all. In the process of doing necessary little “tweaks,” it seems our “contact” icon is out of order for a brief moment. No matter. That’s where you get me. At any time.


Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Anita O’Day. There will never be another like her in the history of jazz. Along with Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and perhaps one or two others, she influenced scores of jazz singers and virtually created a language — and set the standard– for true, modern jazz singing.

And yes, she lived what used to be called the “jazz life,” with a decades-long substance abuse problem, destructive relationships, and what can gently be termed as career highs and career lows.

But through her astounding professional life, that lasted from the early 1930s to her death in 2006, she always, always performed at the highest level. As detailed in her 1981 autobiography, “High Times, Hard Times,” life was rarely easy, and she almost lost that life more than once due to addiction.

Professionally, she was a perfectionist who only demanded of her accompanists what she demanded of herself.

Above all, Anita O’Day was a survivor. In the true sense of the word.

Jazz aficionados are fortunate that O’Day was amply represented on recordings, both authorized and unauthorized, from 1941 until her death, and that a good amount of performance film exists. Those films include her film shorts with Gene Krupa from the early 1940s, her memorable appearance in the legendary “Jazz on a Summer’s Day” documentary about the Newport Jazz Festival from 1958 and a guest stint on the Timex All-Star Jazz television show from the same year with Krupa and Lionel Hampton, a wonderful concert from Japan in 1963, a hard-hitting turn on “60 Minutes” profile from 1980, and various other odds and ends.

As incisive as her autobiography was and is (none other than Madonna was reported to have owned the rights to it for some time) along with the great recordings and videos, Anita O’Day’s real story–and the impact she had and has in the world of jazz–has never really been told. Until now.

“Anita O’Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer” is an award-winning film, completed in 2007 and now available on DVD for the first time, that truly tells the tale of a certifiable legend. Co-directed by Robbie Cavolina and Ian McCrudden, this marvelous production includes film of Anita’s interviews with Dick Cavett, David Frost, Bryant Gumble (that one is worth the price of admission), and comments from her fellow artists and collaborators through the years, including Buddy Bregman, Russ Garcia, Bill Holman, Johnny Mandel, Annie Ross, George Wein and Joe Wilder.

Taken as a cinematic whole, “Anita O’Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer” is, quite simply, Academy Award-winning material.

Most visitors know O’Day’;s history, but for those who may want a refresher, her first break as a singer was in 1938, when she began appearing at Chicago’s Off-Beat club, where she caught the attention of Krupa. She continued working around Chicago until she joined the GK crew in 1941. Her duet with Krupa trumpeter Roy Eldridge, “Let Me Off Uptown,” became a hit, and she was named “New Star of the Year” by DownBeat magazine. When Krupa disbanded in 1943, she briefly joined Woody Herman’s band, then the orchestra of Stan Kenton, where she again hit on wax with “And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine.” She rejoined Krupa in 1945 and stayed a year. Many fans of that “ace drummer man” consider the his 1945 band to be his best. After that, she worked as a single.

Her contribution to the Krupa band was a substantial one (and they had a number of live and recorded reunions until Gene’s death in 1973). Before her arrival in the Krupa fold in 1941, and the arrival of co-hort Roy Eldridge, the band was a not-particularly-distinguished swing crew that was highlighted by a few decent soloists and more than a few drum features by the leader. When Anita and Roy came on the scene, the band caught fire–and Gene said this many times throughout his career– and remained one of the top bands in the business until Gene gave it up in 1951.

From 1952 to 1962, in addition to touring nationwide, she recorded a series of 17 albums for Norman Granz’ Verve label and its various imprints. On an artistic basis and without exception, they still stand up today as among the most remarkable recordings in jazz history. Individually and collectively, they reveal a timeless “hipness,” sense of swing and overall sensitivity that will never, ever go out of style.

In the latter 1960s, O’Day recorded a well-received series of albums for a record company she owned and operated, Emily Records. Indeed, aside from the efforts of Max Roach, Charles Mingus and Dizzy Gillespie in the early 1950s, Emily was among the few, “jazz artist owned and operated” record companies in the history of jazz.

Her final album, “Indestructible,” was recorded in 2004 and 2005, and released in 2006. It was her first recorded effort in 13 years. She died in November of 2006, seven months after its release.

Singular credit must be given to Robbie Cavolina, who was O’Day’s manager for some years, and truly the mastermind behind “Anita O’Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer.” He almost single-handedly ensured that O’Day got the credit she deserved as an icon and an innovator during her lifetime, and that, almost until the end, she kept working. That Anita O’Day was around for 87 years–and still singing–had much to do with his dedication.

Jazz has been blessed with a pretty comprehensive filmed history, especially in the last 15 years or so, with performance films, features and documentaries. I’ve made a few of them myself.

This one is the best. — Bruce Klauber

“Anita O’Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer” is available in two editions: The standard edition is a two-DVD set that includes a 32-page, full color booklet with essays by noted jazz historians James Gavin and Will Friedwald, plus 16 pages of Anita O’Day’s scrapbooks. The deluxe edition includes the above, along with a 144-page, hard bound coffee table book of O’Day’s 1939 to 1969 scrapbooks.This edition contains much rare Krupa material as well Both are available via most online ordering outlets. For more information, visit, the official web site of Anita O’Day.

NEW ON DVD: Papa Jo Jones and the Drum Stars

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

These ultra, ultra rare clips — never before released by–feature jazz drumming legends that are not often seen on DVD. Highlights include Papa Jo Jones with Ben Webster and Buck Clayton from the late 1950s, a Louie Bellson/Philly Joe Jones/Irv Cottler/Shelly Manne turn on the mid-1960s “Hollywood Palace” tv show, a partial Joe Morello solo with Brubeck from 1964, a partial Max Roach drum solo filmed in Europe in the mid-1960s with Elvin Jones looking on. Seen in their entirety are two, very obscure, “Stars of Jazz” half hour programs from 1958, both hosted by Bobby Troup. The first program stars Shelly Manne and the boys along with jazz singer Mark Murphy. Program two is Paul Horn’s early “new age” renderings, with none other than Mel Lewis on drums.papa-jo-jones-and-the-drum-stars

NEW ON DVD: A Tribute to Louie Bellson

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Rare film footage, paying tribute to The Maestro, with Benny Goodman in 1947, Duke Ellington in 1951, Lionel Hampton and Don Lamond in 1957, and with Buddy DeFranco and Don Menza from 1989. Incredible and touching. Click here to Order



Monday, January 19th, 2009

In 1939, bandleader and clarinetist Artie Shaw was at the absolute height of his fame, rivaling Benny Goodman for the “King of Swing” title. Shaw, in fact, was billed as the “King of the Clarinet,” and sparked decades of arguments as to who was the better player. So famous was Shaw that he was pegged to co-star in this 1939 opus, coincidently the same year Gene Krupa made his film debut as a leader. This is a pristine print of this real rarity, which stars Lana Turner, Lee Bowman, Richard Carlson and the great Shaw band, featuring a certain world’s greatest drummer.” The plot? A movie star/dancer gets pregnant just before she’s supposed to star in a new film, and the film studio institutes a nationwide collegiate search for someone to replace her. No matter. Shaw is fabulous, as is the band, and though he’s no Sir Larry, he’s not bad.dancing-co-ed

NEW ON DVD: “The Fabulous Dorseys”

Monday, December 8th, 2008

If you don’t have this one, you should, and this is the version to have, as it’s been digitally restored from the flat versions that been floating around for years.  Tommy and Jimmy, of course, play themselves in this 1947 opus, looking not a day older or younger then they actually were.  Look for a plethora of guests, including Helen O’ Connell, Bob Eberle, Abe Most, Ziggy Elman, Ray Bauduc, Paul Whiteman,  Charlie Barnet, and a very rare filmed appearance by Art Tatum.  Drumming superbly for the Dorsey band is Alvin Stoller.

Jazz Legends Update

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Once again, I extend my sincerest thanks to each and every one of you for your good wishes in line with my medical condition. Things are improving and healing well, though there will be additional treatments and surgeries down the line. The immediate concern, not just for me but for all of us in the states, is the insane prices being charged for essential prescription medicines. By and large, medical insurance only covers a fraction of this, so I would ask you again to take advantage of our JazzLegends $15 sale–now extended through Labor Day–and order as much as you can. Though we always work on the honor system here, because we offer free shipping worldwide, we do ask that you order a minimum of two items to defray these costs.


There is often a price to pay in some form when trying to keep up with what is considered state-of-the-art these days. Specifically, I am speaking of our brand new, stellar, high-tech web site, and the great community that is coming out of it. I have received nothing but glowing comments on the site, but the price to pay I speak of has to do with a frustrating glitch or two that we’re working on. Several of you have thankfully contacted me directly after attempting, unsuccessfully, to contact me by way of the web form. A few of you seemed to think that I dropped off the face of the earth, as I did not receive emails noting that you were attempting to contact me about shipping dates, questions about product, etc. The contact form on the web, quite simply, stopped working. We have now put in place a foolproof–we hope–contact email icon that will put you in touch with me directly and personally. Have a problem, an issue, a request, a question? Email me at It’s that simple, and you have my apologies for the tech breakdown.


In addition to the unbelievable Krupa discoveries that have come to us by way of great friends and colleagues like Bob Bierman and Dean Platt, we will continue to endeavor to offer items by other players and drummers that will, without doubt, be of interest to each and every JazzLegends supporter. Examples? The best print of “Las Vegas Nights” featuring Tommy Dorsey and the crew, The Steve Goodman Trio’s singular jazz version of Broadway’s “Phantom of the Opera” (featuring a guy named Klauber at the traps), and now the film “Second Chorus,” starring the 1940 version of the Artie Shaw big band. There aren’t many examples of the Shaw band on film, so this is well worth having. Rumors still abound about the drummer on the soundtrack of “Second Chorus.” Nick Fatool, in all his glory, is seen onscreen, but if you listen closely, the drummer who preceded Fatool in the Shaw band may actually be playing on the soundtrack.


Joy Adams and I want to thank the large and enthusiastic crew who joined us for our short stay at Dino’s Restaurant in Naples, FL. Dino proved to be a fine host and the venue was a fun and intimate one. Our group, consisting of pianist Jean Packard, bassist Frank Begonia and trumpeter Bill Papineau was superb. We also want to thank the many supporters in attendance, including guest players Gus Maywald on saxophone the great voice of Rosemarie Smedile. Others special guest stars in the room that night included vocalist Jebry, guitarist Dan Smedile, pianist Mel Rosen, drummer John Lamb and others too numerous to mention. Upon our anticipated return to Naples in September, given that health issues hold up, we will hopefully take on another engagement or two. This has been a busy off-season for Jebry, one of our great vocalists. And musically, to our ears, she’s never been better. By the way, our thanks to Jeb and Bobby (“World’s Greatest Drummer”) for letting Joy and I “borrow” their band for a night.


We’ve given a good deal of space over the past several years to the wonderful line-up of talent appearing at The Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts. The 2008-2009 season has just been announced, and jazz-wise, the slate is as impressive as ever. Attractions include Wynton Marsalis with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Dianne Shurr, George Benson’s tribute to Nat Cole, smooth jazzers David Sanborn and Dave Koz, genre’ benders Turtle Island Quartet, Ernestine Anderson and Phil perennial Dick Hyman with Eddie Metz, Jr., Howard Alden, Alan Vache, Randy Sandke and more. There is one, very interesting surprise at The Phil this season. Whatever your personal take is on singer/pianist Michael Feinstein, he certainly has brought the legacy of American popular song to a wider public. So give him credit where credit is due. He did record for Maynard Ferguson, after all. Feinstein’s show at The Phil this season is a salute to Hollywood and MGM musicals, and there are two special guests set to be featured. One is 1950s, B-movie actress and cosmetics mogul Arlene Dahl, and I have no idea what she’ll do on the stage. The other guest is a singer Frank Sinatra once said had “the best pipes in the business.” He was referring to the one and only Vic Damone who has supposedly been retired since 2001. Check out Vic’s website for the actual story. I don’t know who–or what convinced this great artist to come out of retirement, but watch this space for updates and more information.


Our Buddy Rich collection of original VHS videos from the 1970s–on the Carson, Cavett and Merv Griffin programs–is still up for bid. Contact me about this, or for any other reason, at

Keep swingin’
Bruce Klauber
July, 2008


Thursday, July 10th, 2008

Each and every item: $15**
Friday, Saturday and Sunday only
**two-item minimum

Get all the DVDs, CDs and books you’ve always wanted at a once-in-a-lifetime bargain price, with free shipping, of course.

An Issue of Quality

Monday, July 3rd, 2006

It’s pretty obvious that many of you are great fans of Tony Williams. That’s for good reason. He was an innovator and contributor of the highest order. Technically, not too many good equal him. Versatility? He was fluent and at ease with jazz, fusion, rock and all other combinations of those three. 

The good folks at Hudson Music and yours truly have been working on producing a documentary DVD on Tony’s life and music, but the Williams family just won’t go for it right now. As a matter of fact, the last Zildjian Lifetime Achievement Award given to Steve Gadd was actually supposed to go to Tony Williams. Again, the Williams family nixed it, saying that “the time wasn’t right.” Sadly, time is running out. The longer these giants go unrecognized, the quicker they will be forgotten. Making the matter of Tony Williams even more complex is that there just isn’t that much quality video material out there. Tony’s fans know it, and perhaps that’s just one reason why the “Tony Williams Live in New York” is such a popular title. 

It has a rather checkered history. It was released on a laser disc in Japan around 1990 and then withdrawn from release. was fortunate enough to get a copy some years ago and later offer it on VHS video and DVD. There have been quality problems with this title. At least half of the DVDs that have gone out have been defective in some way, shape or form. There have been picture “freeze-ups” and other difficulties that can occur on any DVD, but the main complaint has been that the audio and the video are, quite simply, out-of-sync. That just won’t do. 

We were lucky enough to obtain another copy of the laser disc from Japan, and it is in very good condition, but still not without problems. Maybe there are physical defects on these things and/or that the signals on the disc itself just don’t hold up after 17 years. After all, there’s got to be a reason why laser discs didn’t take the world by storm. And evidently, these laser discs were encoded with some kind of crude form of “Macrovision,” so they couldn’t be duped. It is simply impossible, at least within our means, to totally remove whatever signal that is. 

The good news is that now, the audio quality is absolutely superb and absolutely in synch. The only slight imperfections have to do with the video portion. Now and then, you’ll see some very, very faint lines on the picture. And there are four, count ’em, instances where there are picture drop outs. Two are of one-second duration. The other two are at about 2.5 to 3.0 seconds in duration. All and all, this is pretty darn good in terms of a quest for perfection. 

We’ve just gotten in another Tony title, recorded in France in 1990 by the same band that appears on “Tony Williams Live in New York.” Additionally, we are considering the release of a wild 1972 session, a duo of Tony and Jan Hammer. The quality is just “good” on this, so we’re still in the “consideration” phase. 

Later this week, look for some exciting Gene Krupa “discoveries,” including the actual jam sessions held in Benny Goodman’s apartment in honor of the 30th anniversary of the Carnegie Hall concert; actual “synched-up” footage of Gene with the Goodman band of 1943; additional footage of Gene at the Metropole in 1967 and most of the remainder of the famed “Anatomy of Pop” tv special of the late 1960s, and other newsreel footage of Art Tatum, Dave Tough, Billy Taylor, Duke Elllington and many more. Keep swingin’ until next time. 

Bruce Klauber